NAOISE O’Reilly can’t read, at least, not fluently and not out loud.
She’s so severely dyslexic that an educational psychologist wrote her off as unsuitable for college when she was 17.
Marie O’Riordan fared even worse. A disaster at school, she failed honours English in her Leaving Certificate.
Yet the duo are now hugely successful entrepreneurs who spend their time turning around businesses, and enhancing the lives of everyone they deal with.
How did they turn their own lives around?
“It was recognised that I needed help to achieve my potential,” explains Naoise. “I had a reader for Leaving Certificate, and at University I dictated my exams.” That worked. Gaining a first class degree, Naoise went on to get a PhD. And then, after lots of teaching practice, she set up her own school, helping anyone and everyone to achieve their educational aims. It was an instant success, and won her several awards, including an O2 Ability Award.
Meanwhile Marie, wanting to save the world, blagged her way into a private college. After a stint working in local radio, she worked as a consultant for businesses, finally leaving a paid job to become an international freelance consultant.
“I was helping people to structure their businesses in a way other people understood,” she says. “And I built success on success. I volunteered abroad too. The last interview Mother Theresa gave before she died was with me.”
When Marie and Naoise met in 2011 they hit it off at once.
“We had a lot in common,” says Naoise. “We’re both completely outside the box.
“Both of us did badly in school; yet we both had great CVs in our teens. Marie worked on a kid’s show on RTÉ at 14, and won a best short film award at 15; and I worked in the holidays as a teacher, for a dentist and in the Adelaide Hospital, all by the time I was 17.
“It was amazing to meet someone who is like me, and who is my equal,” she says. “I saw in Marie someone who is brilliant with words. She will talk her way into any situation, whereas I lack the confidence to do that.”
“Naoise is my doppelganger. She has the scientific structure that I lack. Before we met I was thinking of branching more into education, and Naoise was thinking of expanding into business.”
Working apart they are successful; together they are pure dynamo. They’ve achieved huge success helping clients gain new milestones. And they’re currently working with people aged from 18 months to 72. They’ve invented a system called The Periodic Table of the Development of Results, or Purple Success. And they are taking it around the world.
How have they achieved such success?
“We give people back the dreams they had when they were five,” says Marie. “We allow them to be themselves. So the system is not generic. We give them specific tools tailored to them.”
“A person has to have a road map,” says Naoise. “The system has to suit the way that person ticks, their way of thinking and of processing information. That helps them to work efficiently.”
So what is their title? Are they glorified job coaches, or is their work closer to counselling? They laugh, clearly used to the question. “We’re completely outside the box,” says Naoise. “We are different. I’m an expression developist, and Marie is a legacy planner.”
Marie’s dream is to take Purple Success round the world, touching as many people and businesses as she possibly can. Naoise’s is to take literacy and intelligence out of the same sentence. She’s writing a book right now, trying to change people’s perceptions of literacy.
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